The Long Overdue Gertie Bio

No better time like the present to get Gertie’s bio written.  It will be 2 years since she moved in, after all.

It’s been a long, strange trip for Gertie.

Here’s the short version:

An apparent domestic upheaval split Gert’s original family between Arizona and the east coast.  Further issues occurred with the family  member remaining local.  Gert and Pablo were left(?), abandoned(?), surrendered(?), tied to a tree at a local McDonalds.  They had been there all day when Crabby beat Animal Control in picking them up.  That was June, 2014.

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Let’s pause for a flash forward: Gertie’s east coast family reached out a year later and informed me that Gertie was 13 (then) and not the generic and regular 10 year old estimate of all foundling senior dogs.

OK, now let’s flash back again – to 2014.  Gert Gert was clearly old, was generally sluggish, and had difficulty moving.  For that reason, and those of you who follow this blog will agree, Run A Muck Ranch was NOT the place for her.  You can’t drop a Fine Old Dame on the island of The Lord of the Flies and expect it to end well!  Gertie got a courtesy post on a local senior dog rescue site.  Of course no one was interested.

For my part, I made sure Gertie was well cared for.  She got her 2 squares a day, scritches, pets, hugs and of course her evening Old Lady Plumbing Walks.  All the while I wished she lived somewhere else.  Being Mom to Slugger is a full time job as it is!  Being Mom to Slugger + 11 other Idiots, and Sarah was exhausting.  I really didn’t have the juice to incorporate the special needs of a giant, uber senior into the mix!

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Then came that fateful day in October, 2014.  Gertie was in a bad way.  We were at the vet within 2 hours.  An hour later, the recommendation was to put her down.  Even if we could afford the costly additional tests, chances were (emphasis added) she probably (emphasis again) wouldn’t respond to the treatment.  With dogs in Gertie’s situation (yup, emphasis again), the best thing to do would be to let her go.

Those emphasis statements aren’t exactly quotes from the vet, but they were the general gist of what he said.  I’m not sure what you make of them, but what I heard was Gertie wasn’t worth it.  I then deduced that Gertie had deteriorated to that point because, well, what reason could she possibly have to stick around?  Sure, she was well cared for, but no one cared for her.

I declined on letting Gertie go that day.  Actually, that was the very day I made Gertie my own.  I would no longer be her caretaker.  From that day forward I would be her mom.

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That’s all it took. It’s 2016 now and even with Gertie’s worsening arthritis (especially when I let her get too heavy) she is scores better than she was the day Crabby brought her and Satan’s Cheewawa home back in 2014.

Gertie has forgiven me for not being a mom those first few months. She knows she’s my Lady now.  We have a daily routine for just about everything.  No worries about shirking my responsibilities because if the appointed time arrives, and I am not already making the necessary preparations, Gertie WILL remind me, including but not limited to, the 1:30am, written in stone, does not vary EVER, pee.

Sarah used to be the only source of intelligent conversation for Gertie, but when Sare Bear passed away, it became Gertie and The Horde and she seems pretty content with the situation.  She will play with Morty.  She accepts Marcy’s worship.  She shares dog beds with pretty much all of the others. And she is as mystified as we are as to how someone as stupid as Slugger could possibly exist.

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Gertie is patient, kind, so very loving and has a beautiful smile.  She absolutely loves meeting people, new and old, and has no issues with inserting herself into the personal space of anyone.

Gertie knows she has nothing to worry about anymore, but sometimes if she wakes up and I’m not in the room with her, she gets a little nervous.   It used to be she would shuffle from room to room looking for me, but that got old pretty fast.  Now, she just barks.  She knows 1 or 2 thunderous roars are enough to bring me running.

A few tid bits about The Gert Gert:

She sleeps with her eyes open.  On more than one occasion, I found her in a deep, barely breathing sleep, and thought she was dead.

She is completely deaf. She could be sleeping (with her eyes open of course) and the rest of The Horde decides to start a mosh pit within inches of her and she will not so much as stir.  (And you wonder why I thought she was dead a few times!).

After every meal, Gertie must wash her face.  If there is nothing else available, the closest human leg will do.

I have never known a dog who loved a hug as much as Gertie.  Doesn’t matter who the hugger is, a hug is a hug and Gertie loves it.

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Gertie doesn’t move like a dog.  Rather, she moves like a Standardbred (horse) pacer.  In her mind, she’s racing like the wind, but to the casual onlooker, it’s a little old lady shuffle.  Which brings me to one of my favorite Gertie stories:

Once, while I was talking to a neighbor during one of Gertie’s evening walks, a lady on a horse passed by.  I didn’t pay any attention until the lady called over to me – kid you not:

“Is  your dog chasing us?” she asked, watching Gertie, with great concentration, pacing up the road after her.

“Yup” I said – not concerned that Gertie would ever catch up.

After a short pause the lady called back “Should I slow down?”.

If a person on horseback offers to slow down to allow a chasing dog to catch up, you just know there’s something about the dog.

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There is a serious disadvantage to bringing a super senior dog into your heart:  There will never be enough days.  But there is an even worse disadvantage to not giving a super senior a chance:  You don’t have any days.

We knew going in Gertie wouldn’t be with us very long in the scheme of things.  But rather than focus on time, we focus on times – as in the good ones.

Here’s hoping there are many more to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Synopsis of Gertie’s Hugging Expedition Today

Work, Emmi, an incident with Gracie (don’t worry John, she’s fine) were already enough to keep me in non-regular-blog mode. The Cutest Pet Contest we entered Gertie in sucked up the rest of the time.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to keep up with sharing contest entries on social media?  I even took a foray into Craig’s List, Backpage and a few other less than desirable sites on this!  Thank goodness it’s only a 10 day contest!

The result:  We’re in the lead by 100, contest ends tomorrow.   Gertie just may grace the cover of the May issue of 85086 Magazine and gain publicity for 1,000 Hugs for Gertie yet!

A truly awesome result:  The publicity Gertie is getting for her campaign is incredible!  Though they don’t count toward Gert’s goal of 1,000 physical hugs, she has received virtual hugs from as far away as Italy, Russia, Spain, and Japan, to name a few.  Many of these virtual hugs being accompanied by photos of elder dog family members of the hugger.  If Gertie’s mission accomplishes nothing else, it has provided a forum for people to strut their senior dogs.  That’s a pretty good accomplishment if you ask me!

Anyway, this week is Arizona Bike Week.  Gertie had great luck collecting hugs from bikers in the past, so we decided to try again.  It was going to be less than 80 degrees outside, and Cave Creek, a biker hot spot, is very close.

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Heather, hug #16, introduced Gertie to several of her friends in the Desert Souls Brotherhood at the Roadrunner back in December.  I should have realized then that bikers are the best huggers.

So off we went, at 11:30 am this morning:

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Gertie knows when she’s loaded up and her vest is near, good things are on the horizon!

 

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You’re never too old to hang your head out the window!  Sorry about the water spots on the mirror.
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First parking location.  Can you hear the crickets?  The place looked completely abandoned.

Cave Creek is not known for it’s reasonable parking accommodations on a good day.  On a day with hundreds, possibly thousands of bikes, we knew it would be especially problematic.  The original plan was to park at the Post Office after it closed, then walk to the festivities.    The Barkista Mobile was as big a flag as we could wave to Facebook people who went to Cave Creek to hug Gertie.  See the car, know we’re here.  Want to find us?  My phone number is on the front corner panel.  Just call me and we’ll find each other. Also, the Waggin’ Wagon isn’t as nimble as the Barkista Mobile.  If parking was at a premium we needed nimble!

2 problems with this original plan:

1)  Despite living here for 20 years, AND at one time being the Assistant to the Town Engineer of Cave Creek, I was clueless as to the distance from point A to B.  It was too far for Gertie to walk.

and, even if Gertie could go the distance

2) There was a sheriff deputy posted nearby to make sure no one interloped on the Post Office Parking lot.

So we went right into the belly of the beast, parking in Gateway Park, with a relatively short walk to the festivities.

And then were were there:

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This was just the eastern edge of motorcycle parking.  They went forever!

Gertie got her first hug within seconds of walking into the vendor area, then her second, then her 3rd.

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Gertie made a canine friend, the beautiful …  I’d tell you her name if I could read my own writing!  It starts with an M and ends with an “a” or a “u”.  My bad!

By hug 6, minutes after arriving, we realized we had a problem:  Too much heat was radiating from the pavement and it was quickly taking it’s toll on Gertie.

So she lay down in the shade of one of the trailers, and the hugs kept coming

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Hug # 50, Vonda at Bike Week, 4/9/16

In the shade of another trailer came more hugs.  Under the shade of a booth, yet more!

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Group Hug!  Ashley (r) was hug # 55.  This is hug # 55.5 and 56, with Small  Block.  Is this not a great pic?

At this point only 15 to 20 minutes had passed, and I don’t think we had made it 100 feet since entering the vendor area, but we had to call it quits.

Gertie had no problem with the crowd.  Actually, I honestly think she would have preferred we took the leash off so she could mingle more freely.

The motorcycle and other loud noises were not an issue either – keep in mind, Gertie is completely deaf!

The problem was, despite it being less than 80 degrees, so much heat was bouncing off the pavement, Gertie was uncomfortable and not having fun.  Remember, the most important part of these expeditions is that Gertie have fun.

So we had to turn around, which is when we met Eric, Hug #60.

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We ran out of water within 5 minutes due to the heat effect.  Eric gave Gertie a bottle on the way out.
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Which lead to a great wet spot to lay in!

The exit was just on the other side of this trailer.  We found a tree to sit under for a few minutes to help Gertie cool down a little more, then we did the only rational next move.

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A stop at Dairy Queen for a little more cooling therapy

Where we met

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Linda, Hug #61 at Dairy Queen.

All told, Gertie collected 19 hugs in, at most, a 1/2 hour at the Bike Week Vendor area.  If the heat hadn’t gotten to her so bad and so quickly, I have no doubt we could have collected 100 easily, probably more.  But Gertie’s comfort is more important than hug count.

Weather permitting (there’s a storm coming in), I may try to see if I can take her back tomorrow morning when it’s cooler.  I don’t have to work, so I can get there earlier.

Both from the experience at The Roadrunner back in December, and the hug collecting expedition of this morning, I can honestly say, bikers by far are the most open and welcoming huggers. Bike week only comes once a year, and it would be very disappointing to lose so many hugging opportunities.  Cross fingers conditions tomorrow allow for more hugs.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who hugged Gertie this morning.  You made an old lady very happy.

My personal favorite:

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Duchess, hug # 58.  She kept on hugging Gertie long after the camera was put away.  Gertie would have stayed in her arms all day, if not for the heat.
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I’ll be ready for more hugs after a nap, Ma!  Can we go again?  Huh?  Can we?

To see all of Gertie’s collected hugs, go to The Photo Album on her Facebook page.  I’ve set it to public so non-Facebook users should be able to see them.

 

 

Facebook Anyone? Gertie Needs Your Vote

I apologize to those of you sane enough NOT to have a Facebook account since you can’t participate, but for those who do:

Gertie has been entered in the 85086 Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest.  Is it because she is a cute pet?  Nay I say!

Gertie has her own facebook page, 1,000 Hugs for Gertie, where she is trying to get 1,000 hugs before she dies.

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Gertie, all decked out to receive hugs. 

Gertie absolutely loves meeting new people, and believe it or not, loves getting a little too cozy with them.  It kind of came to me in a dream that we should see how many hugs she can get from unique huggers.   1,000 Hugs for Gertie sounded so much better than 75 Hugs for Gertie or 128 Hugs for Gertie.  Ergo, the campaign 1,000 Hugs for Gertie was born.

That was the easy part.  I swear I could find more participation if I were begging for money!  At least then I’d be normal!   But I’m not asking for money, I’m asking for hugs for Gertie.  That makes me one of the reasons people carry pepper spray!   I guess people aren’t used to Crazy Dog Ladies asking people to hug giant, geriatric dogs.

In 4 months we’ve amassed a whopping 38 hugs (see them Here.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you can see them unless you have Facebook.)

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As promised, we removed the people bed since jumping on or off of it was a danger to Emmi. Problem is, the mattress remained just long enough for Gertie to think all of her dreams had come true:  A people bed she could get on.  So, while the people are relegated to the floor on camping mats,  Gertie and siblings now enjoy the luxury of  a pillow top mattress, with free linen service.  We didn’t have the heart to take the mattress away from Gertie. 

Back to the Contest:

85086 Magazine is a magazine with a target area of those residents in zip code, you guessed it, 85086.  It is distributed, free, to all residents and businesses in that zip code – a number exceeding 50,000.

What zip code does Gertie live in?  85086.

A win would get Gertie the cover of the May 2016 issue as well as a feature story.  That feature story couldn’t be written without mentioning Gertie’s goal of 1,000 hugs.

A feature story about a furry old lady looking for hugs would connect Gertie with a hundred or 2 huggers close to home and make other people less likely to call the white suits on me, pan handling for hugs.

So, can we get your vote?

Like 85086 Magazine (click here to go there) on Facebook, then click the “85086 Cutest Pet Contest” tab (to the right of the photos tab).  Find Gertie’s photo

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This is the one they are using for the contest

And vote for her.

You can vote once a day.

Blessedly this is only a 10 day contest, so voting ends on April 10.

A vote today could mean many hugs for Gertie in the near future.

The lengths we go to here at Run A Muck Ranch to keep The Horde happy.

 

Poor Gracie Had A Bad Day

Today Gracie went to the dentist.

This time she lost 3 teeth:  2 molars, 1 incisor.

T’was not a good day at all.

If I could see, I'm sure I'd see a bunch of pretty lights right now!
If I could see, I’m sure I’d see a bunch of pretty lights right now!

I’m kind of wondering if we should just ask the vet to remove all teeth from Gracie and Pablo.  Losing teeth every cleaning is getting very frustrating!

What Do You Do When Your Dog Becomes Inconvenient

Gertie’s ‘leaking’ has gotten worse.

It’s not a housebreaking issue.  When Gertie needs to go outside, she’ll bark.

It’s more a constant drip.

Can the situation BE anymore inconvenient?????

There is no treatment for an old lady with Gertie’s condition.

And it’s only going to get worse.

We only have one option available.

You really can’t judge us….

I mean, really, what would you do to if you were forced to live with a dog who constantly drips urine?

We really need to find a more fashionable diaper option....
We really need to find a more fashionable diaper option….

No worries about Gertie.  It doesn’t matter how old she was when she became one of us.  Family is family no matter what ‘inconveniences’ they cause.

Bad News About Gertie

In the furtherance of acting on my ‘irrational hunch” I shaved Gertie again.  This haircut is only marginally better than last time.    You will not be seeing her in her long, flowing locks anytime soon.  That’s pretty bad news if you ask me!

I shaved her again.  Sorry about the bad lighting, but you get the gist.
Sorry about the bad lighting, but you get the gist.  How long can one dog be forced to sport bad hair cuts????
Though my dog grooming skills has not improved, Gertie doesn't seem to mind.
Though my dog grooming skills have not improved, Gertie doesn’t seem to mind.

Gertie is giving us all indications that she swallowed a bad lizard or something over the weekend.  She is bouncy (for Gertie that is) and eating fine.

Right now, this very moment, I am significantly peeved about the vet visit on Sunday.  Had I followed directions to the letter, we would have had an ultrasound and lab fees, not including a biopsy if one was needed, in the range of $750 – $800 total.   Let’s not even go to the place where the “C” word was repeated and the possible need to euthanize discussed.    I can’t help but wonder if others, in the same position, given the same dismal prognosis, would have put their dog down!

All bitterness aside, there were some anomalies I alluded to, said anomalies I wouldn’t have known about had I not gone to the vet that day.   I’m still working on an irrational hunch concerning those issues as, though not as serious as the “C” word, they can effect quality of life.

I’m going to try to get copies of the x-rays to post to see if anyone else sees what I saw, what I will call Anomaly #1.  I will discuss Anomalies #2, 3 and 4 if I see changes in Gertie based on my “irrational hunch”.   No point in saying anything now as it could very well be I’ve just got too much on my plate and the brain isn’t functioning properly.

As you can see from Gertie’s expression in the pics, she’s perfectly content with her quality of life right now 🙂  Let’s see how she feels about it after the bath she’s going to get in a few minutes.

News About Gertie

Beautiful Gertie wasn't feeling very well.
Beautiful Gertie wasn’t feeling very well.

Without getting into too many details, Gertie was at the vet today for GI issues.  A physical was done and x-rays taken.

The vet threw out the “C” word as a potential diagnoses and recommended an ultrasound.

It took a couple months, but Gertie finally learned the benefits of the couch.
It took a couple months, but Gertie finally learned the benefits of the couch.

Given Gertie’s age and physical condition, she is not a very good candidate for invasive abdominal surgery, the treatment if a tumor exists, be it benign or malignant.

Yup, Gertie has become quite accustomed to the accomodations.
Yup, Gertie has become quite accustomed to the accommodations.

This news leaves us with only one option:

Today Gertie got her promise that Run A Muck Ranch is her forever home.

Gertie even has someone to cuddle up to.
Gertie even has someone to cuddle up to.

Our mission is to keep Gertie happy and comfortable for as long as she’ll let us.

Hey Mom, if this is a permanent arrangment, we're going to have to lay down some rules.  Let's start with you not  chasing me around with a camera when I'm trying to get my nap on!
Hey Mom, if this is a permanent arrangement, we’re going to have to lay down some rules. Let’s start with you not chasing me around with a camera when I’m trying to get my nap on!

We are very blessed that the stars aligned to bring Gertie to us.

PS: There were some, shall we say, ‘things’ about Gertie discovered in today’s visit that have my mind spinning right now.  I dared not voice my thoughts out loud to the vet lest I get the “eye roll”.  Cross fingers that this ‘irrational’ hunch pans out and that Gertie will not only be better, but thrive.   I may be wrong, but there’s always hope, right?

Product Review: ToeGrips for Dogs

I saw a Facebook Share about Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs and immediately thought of Sarah and Gertie.  Ours are Pergo floors and traction can be an issue sometimes.

ToeGrips, pursuant to The ToeGrips Web Page, “are the only product on the market that use dogs’ natural bio-mechanics, by providing traction through their toenails.”  I will admit, they did work, however…

Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips
Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips

I measured twice, Sarah and Gertie’s Toenails, all front and back paws, not just one front and back per the sizing instructions, wearing readers mind you, since sizing was to the millimeter, and carefully documented the measurements.  3 toe nails on Sarah, and 2 on Gertie did not fall within the range of Extra Large sizing with the rest of the nails.  Having not used this product before, I was reluctant to buy 4 different sizes at $29.95 each.  I figured if the properly sized ToeGrips stayed on, long enough to be cost-effective, I could make the correction on the next order.   I really wanted them to work, for Sarah especially.

I paid my $29.95 each, plus shipping, for 2 packages of  XL ToeGrips.

Sarah had her ToeGrips ‘installed’ on August 20.  I started by applying the ToeGrips to Sarah’s ‘good’ front paw.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they would stay on. They weren’t loose, just flimsy.   Sarah’s nails were at the appropriate length, and when I compared her toes to the photos of properly applied ToeGrips, Sarah’s looked the same.

Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/
Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/.  This is the one I compared Sarah’s feet to.

Thinking I may have mis-measured, I re-measured the paw I was working on.  My measurements were accurate to the sizing.  The application instructions said that if a dog drags his or her feet, the ToeGrips would have to be superglued on.  Instead of gluing just Sarah’s dragging paw, I glued them all.

Yes, Sarah walked better.  She jumped on the couch better.  She got off the couch easier. Problem is, the ToeGrips started falling off on day 6 after application.  I re-applied the ‘extra’ 4 in the package as needed.  By September 8, all 20 ToeGrips were gone.  Despite being glued, despite all but 3 being spot on for sizing measurements, they came off.  Actually, the 2 which held on the longest were on toes which, pursuant to the sizing chart, should have been sized XXL.

Gertie’s ToeGrips were applied on August 23. I needed that long to get my fingers unstuck from gluing Sarah’s!  Noticing Sarah’s ToeGrips rubbing at the underside of the toenails (contact with ground), I left Gertie’s nails a little bit longer.

Guinea Dog Gertie.  Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her Toe Grips.
Guinea Dog Gertie. Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her ToeGrips.

Again, a test paw, unglued, did not look very stable, so, like with Sarah, I glued Gertie’s on.  Her ToeGrips didn’t start falling off until the second week.  Again, I re-applied with the 4 extras as the old ones were lost.  Gertie still had one Toe Grip on at supper time on September 17, but it fell off sometime during our evening walk.   We didn’t see a difference in Gertie’s mobility with the ToeGrips, which may have been due to the fact her nails were longer.

Sarah may be wobbly, but she can still chase a rabbit in our 1/2 acre back yard.  That said, most of her life revolves around the north arm of the couch and her food bowl.  She doesn’t have a lot of ambition aside from that.  Sarah didn’t go for a desert walk until 2 weeks ago, but by then, most of the ToeGrips had already fallen off. She returned from that walk with all remaining ToeGrips still on.

In Gertie’s case, our evening walks are on pretty level grounds, but the roads  or shoulders of roads are gravel.  Only recently has Gert Gone Wild and occasionally breaks into a lope, way outside her usual putter gait.

Given the activity levels, Gertie getting more exercise than Sarah, I would have thought Sarah’s ToeGrips would have lasted longer than Gertie’s. I think Gertie’s nails being longer, preventing so much contact with the underside of the ToeGrip with the ground, may have contributed to their longevity.  But remember,  we didn’t see any difference in Gertie’s movement on the Pergo floors.  This also may have been nail length related.

Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat.  Emmi was on the north arm of the couch.  No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!
Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat. Emmi was on the north arm of the couch. No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!

ToeGrips do come with a 60 day money back guarantee, however, it’s kind of hard to remove glued on ToeGrips, and unless you see one fall off, you can’t retrieve it.  I did hold out hope that perhaps the problem was application on my part, but out of 40 toes total.  you would think even the most moronic of Crazy Dog Ladies could have gotten one right, but not a single one, not even glued, stayed on for more than a few weeks.  I can’t believe user error would be the only possibility for the lack of longevity.  All I am left with is the one empty wrapper that Slugger didn’t eat.  Not thinking I can get my money back on that.

I’ve searched far and wide looking for any negative review for ToeGrips, but can’t find a single one.  Curiously, all reviews were written, and videos made, shortly after application.  I have attempted contact with several bloggers who reviewed the product, but none have responded back as to whether or not they still use it.  The latest I only found tonight.  If she responds, I’ll post the result of our communications in an edit.

I did notice that most of the bloggers reported ToeGrips falling off, but because they worked providing traction, the reviews remained positive.   I love Sarah and Gertie unconditionally, but I can’t afford $119.80 plus shipping per month required to get temporary relief with traction.  Remember, 5 toes did not align with the rest of the XL’s, I would need to buy 1 L, 2XL and 1 XXL to fit all nails.

If ToeGrips were $9.95 plus shipping, sign me up for automatic orders every month! I’ll keep gluing them on as they fall off!   But at $29.95, well, it’s not possible, at least for the 99% of us who don’t hold most of our nation’s wealth.

The idea of ToeGrips is a great one and I truly wanted them to work, especially for our Sarah, but I think the product was released to the market long before it was properly tested and designed.   It is seriously overpriced given not even Superglue and a couch-melded pit bull can keep them on.  If cost is no issue, and you don’t mind constantly re-applying them, go ahead!  They do help with traction!   Otherwise, I’d say wait a few years until the product is improved or a better one comes out.